Dizu Plaatjies and the Amampondo: A Case of Music, Agency and Social Transformation

  • Oladele Ayorinde


This article presents a case of how culture (specifically music) has been used by Dizu Plaatjies and the Amampondo musical group as a resource for social transformation. Theoretically framed by Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, the article narrates the story of Dizu Plaatjies and the Amampondo musical group from Langa Township, Cape Town. This story holds important lessons, as it challenges and suggests new directions for African music education and scholarship beyond its relegation to ‘context’, ‘signs’ and ‘rituals’. Plaatjies and Amampondo present a model and example of social transformation through the agency of African music and culture. This article draws from more than two years of research fieldwork (apprenticeship, interview and participant observation and  archival work) in Cape Town to explain how Plaatjies and Amampondo’s traditional music practices had social, cultural and  economic effects, and created a uniquely South African musical culture in South African marimba music. The research presented here suggests rethinking African music education and scholarship in terms of social, cultural and economic development.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2223-635X